Poetry & the Senses
Spring 2021 Fellows Reading
Monday, May 10th 2021
This event took place on the ARC YouTube Channel. Watch the video recording here.
The Arts Research Center celebrated the 2021 Spring Poetry Fellows with a reading featuring: reelaviolette botts-ward, Vethea Cole, Elizabeth Feng, Sara Mumolo, Ramona Naddaff, Ken Ueno, Noah Warren, and Maw Shein Win. This event was a part of ARC’s Poetry and the Senses initiative generously sponsored by Engaging the Senses Foundation.
During spring 2021, ARC and these amazing poetry fellows explored the theme of emerge/ncy: voices to carry with us in times of crisis. Motivating questions included, what kinds of poetic modes of address might be recruited in times of global catastrophe? How does poetry help us think through and within crisis? “Emergency” implies urgency, sudden harm, life-threatening violence, and extreme circumstances, but embedded within it is the word “emergence;” suggesting rebirth and new beginnings. How can we understand moments of emergency as catalysts for renewal, as ruptures that signal massive—if painful—change?
reelaviolette botts-ward is a homegirl, an educator, and a nontraditional multimedia artist from Philadelphia, PA. She is currently a doctoral candidate in African Diaspora Studies researching Black women’s healing spaces in Oakland. ree centers “everyday round the way Blackgirl methodology” to theorize creative innovation in the wake of displacement. Founder of blackwomxnhealing, ree curates healing circles and exhibitions for and by Black womxn, using Black feminist poetics and artistry as tools for translation between academic and community audiences. Her first book, mourning my inner[blackgirl]child, will be published with Nomadic Press in 2021 (info here). blackwomxnhealing.com / @blackwomxnhealing.
Vethea Cerna Cole is a queer, Filipinx writer, artist, and lover in their final year of pursuing a BA in Gender & Women’s Studies at UC Berkeley. Her research analyzes the intergenerational trauma passed between mothers who have emigrated from the Philippines and queer, trans, first generation children adapting to life in the settler colony that is the U.S. Centering decolonization in their art and scholarship, Vethea hopes to contribute to new frameworks of healing and restorative justice for QTBIPOC. To them, sharing community, language, and vulnerability is at the heart of everything.
Elizabeth Zhiying Feng is a visual artist, writer, and programmer from the Bay Area. Elizabeth is a second year Electrical Engineering & Computer Science major at Berkeley. She creates visual poetry that combines writing with elements of photography, typography, cinematography, and composition. She’s also interested in new media, immersive computing, and machine creativity, and hopes to discover new ways to combine art and technology in the future.
Sara Mumolo is the author of Day Counter and Mortar, both published by Omnidawn. She serves as the Associate Director for the MFA in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of CA. Writing has appeared in Lana Turner, The Millions, PEN Poetry Series, Pleiades, San Francisco Chronicle, and Zyzzyva, among others. She created and curated the Studio One Reading Series in Oakland, CA from 2007-2012. She has received residencies to Vermont Studio Center, Caldera Center for the Arts, and has served as a curatorial resident at Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland, CA. www.saramumolo.com
Ramona Naddaff is the author of a collection of prose-poems, Paris/Paris (Tête d’Affiche, 1991) and of a permanent installation of a poem-collage, “Ancient Greece and Democracy” in the Lisbon metro station. She has written a scholarly monograph, Exiling the Poets: The Production of Censorship in Plato’s Republic (University of Chicago, 2002) as well as essays on ancient Greek philosophy and literature, and on literary censorship. She is currently completing a manuscript on the writing practices of the novelist Gustave Flaubert, Never Alone: The Making of Madame Bovary. Associate Professor in the Rhetoric Department, Naddaff is also founding director of the Art of Writing program at the Doreen B.Townsend Humanities Center. She has been an editor at Zone Books in New York since its inception.
Rome Prize and Berlin Prize winner Ken Ueno is a composer, vocalist and sound artist. Ueno’s collaborators include the Hilliard Ensemble, Kim Kashkashian and Robyn Schulkowsky, Steve Schick and SFCMP, and Frances-Marie Uitti. As a vocalist, he has performed his concerto with orchestras in Boston, New York, Poland, Lithuania, Thailand, North Carolina, and California. His sound installations have been installed at MUAC, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Art Basel, and at SCI-Arc. Ueno is currently a Professor in Music at UC Berkeley. His bio appears in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. www.kenueno.com
Noah Warren is the author of The Complete Stories (Copper Canyon, 2021) and The Destroyer in the Glass (Yale, 2016). His honors include the Yale Series of Younger Poets and a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and his poems appear in The Paris Review, POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. At Berkeley, his research traces the pervasive influence of natural history and its classificatory logic in nineteenth century America, investigating how these structure practices of observation, encourage anti-progressivism, and subtend the nefarious racism of American ethnography.
Maw Shein Win is a poet, editor, and educator who lives and teaches in the Bay Area. Her poetry chapbooks are Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA/Commonwealth Projects) and Score and Bone (Nomadic Press). Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. She was a 2019 Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at UC Berkeley. Win is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito, California (2016 – 2018), and her full-length poetry collection, Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn, 2020) was recently longlisted for a 2021 PEN Open Book Award. She often collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and other writers. www.mawsheinwin.com
This event was part of the Arts Research Center’s Poetry & the Senses program, a two-year initiative (Jan 2020 – Dec 2021) that explores the relevance and urgency of lyrical making and storytelling in times of political crisis, and the value of engaging the senses as an act of care, mindfulness, and resistance. Funded by the Engaging the Senses Foundation.